Healthcare search engine optimization (SEO) for doctors is continually changing. Gone are the days when it was possible to rank a website within days just by including spammy backlinks and stuffing keywords. Google’s algorithm is way smarter now, and the nature of Google searches has also changed.
Why Is Healthcare SEO Constantly Changing?
Let’s try to think of this from Google’s perspective. Google is a business, and like every other business, it has competitors. In the search engine market, Bing, Yahoo and DuckDuckGo are some of Google’s competitors. At present, more than 90 percent of all search engine traffic flows through Google alone.
Google has been able to achieve this incredible market value because it has been relentlessly innovating to give the best possible results for any given search query. To sustain its reputation, Google needs to continue providing the best possible results for any search query. If it doesn’t, people will look elsewhere to fulfill their search needs.
So to stay on top of all this, Google needs to optimize its algorithm to provide the best experience.
Let’s look at some of the critical factors that will play an integral role in the success of your healthcare SEO strategies for 2020.
1. Voice Search
As more and more patients switch from desktop to mobile and the use of smart home devices increases, patients are turning to voice search. People are shifting to voice search because it’s quicker and more comfortable, especially when they are performing other tasks.
In 2016, Google said that more than 20 percent of all queries on its mobile app were carried out by voice – and this trend continues to rise.
Traditional searches and voice searches differ in nature, and so optimization strategies should also be different. For voice search, you will need to think about conversational, natural language and local searches as well as ensuring that your website is mobile-friendly.
2. Patient Experience
Google’s algorithm has become more sophisticated to provide better, more relevant results and also to exclude poor content resulting from discredited practices like building spammy backlinks and keyword stuffing.
Google now counts user experience and engagement among its critical metrics for healthcare SEO rankings. This is because engagement and experience are excellent indicators of the quality of a website or its content. Accordingly, if your site has a high bounce rate, it indicates to Google that the search result was not useful for the user. And if this continues, Google will rank your website lower in its results. There are many other patient experience metrics that signal poor quality, such as average session duration, dwell time and page views. All of these factors tell Google to paint a picture of the overall quality of your healthcare website.
Google aims to provide the best results to its users, so this is the reason your patients’ experience on your website will continue to be an essential factor.
3. Good-Quality Content
The phrase “Content is king” will continue to be one of the best SEO practices for 2020.
With the importance of patient metrics, you cannot allow your content to fall by the wayside. You need to create and share content in line with how it will affect your patient metrics; in other words, provide useful content that will rank higher.
Ask yourself these questions:
- Is my content useful? Will it add value to other content on this topic?
- Will this type of blog lead to a high bounce rate for the relevant keyword?
- How can I link this blog to other pages on my website to increase my page views?
- How can I keep my patients engaged for the maximum time on a particular page?
Answering these questions in a way that offers maximum value to your readers will prove to be a win-win-win situation for everyone.
Your patients win because they have found what they were looking for. Google gains because users are happy that the search engine has delivered relevant content that helped them address their problem. And you will win because Google will continue to drive more traffic to your healthcare website.
4. Mobile-First Indexing and Page Speed
It is common knowledge that smartphones have penetrated at a massive rate over the past few years, and mobile search constitutes around half of the total search traffic worldwide.
Google has launched mobile-first indexing and announced that this would be the default standard for websites. So, what does this tell you? It means that mobile-friendliness will matter even more in search engine rankings.
However, some medical practices still do not have a mobile-optimized website. Your prospects are increasingly searching on smart devices, and Google will not show your site to new users (potential patients) if it is not mobile-friendly, as it will give mobile patients a miserable experience.
Critical factors in mobile-first optimization include fast-loading pages as well as precise navigation designed for screens of varied sizes.
The bounce rate of your website is another patient metric that signals poor user experience. Therefore, ensuring that your site loads quickly for mobile users must be a priority if you want to achieve higher rankings.
You can test and monitor the speed of your healthcare website using Google’s free speed test tool. This tool will give you speed scores as well as recommendations for improvement and will show you how you are doing compared to your competitors.
Google’s mobile-friendly test tool will analyze your website to see just how easy it is for a mobile patient and provide tips for fixing errors and improving usability.
5. Omni-Channel Marketing
In 2019, we lived in a world of multi-channel, diverse marketing experiences with customer journeys being more complicated and fragmented than ever. To achieve a seamless patient journey, you will need to integrate different healthcare marketing strategies into one single holistic approach.
Multi-channel marketing involves interacting with existing and potential patients through different channels, such as social media, SMS, email, etc. Each channel operates separately with its own goals and strategies.
Omni-channel marketing involves using various channels but aims to provide patients with an integrated, seamless experience throughout the channels.
Whether it be PPC, YouTube or podcasting – expanding your healthcare marketing efforts to include patient acquisition methods will help with your healthcare SEO for doctors. The more often your brand name is mentioned and your content shared on other reputed websites, the more trustworthy you will be considered by search engines, and your rankings will improve.
By introducing a variety of digital marketing tactics to your SEO efforts, you will be giving your brand more opportunities to be liked, shared, referenced and mentioned around the web. As a result, your healthcare SEO results will improve.
The nature of healthcare SEO is that it is continually evolving. To stay on top in the rankings and ensure you are driving organic traffic to your healthcare website, you need to be aware of the latest SEO trends for 2020 that will lead the way forward and into the future.
Voice search, patient experience, quality content, mobile-first indexing and omni-channel marketing are some of the trends you should be keeping abreast of in 2020. Implementing these aspects of healthcare SEO will put your brand name and your website ahead of the curve.